was a great week for me and I can´t wait to tell everything that happened. First off though, I´m using a ghetto keyboard where the keys don´t have the letters printed on them. It´s annoying, but I´ll do my best not to get frustrated. It´s been way cool to keep in touch with my old college buddies and hear about how they´ve been doing. We´ve been talking to eachother through emails, and it sounds like everyone has been having cool experiences. Missionary work is a blast and I´ve grown so much these past few months.
First off, I was told by a young woman in our ward that I look like Ken (you know, Barbie´s girlfriend). I thought it was pretty funny, so if there´s any girls back home looking for someone to write, let them know that Ken is having a blast here in Rio and wouldn´t mind :) Also, I haven´t heard at all about anyone back at home who has received a mission call since I left to the MTC. Is there anyone from our home ward or stake that I would know who´s received one? I would love to hear about it. I love news like that.
Então.... I started off last week doing my first division with another elder in our district. His name is Elder Leite (which is portuguese for milk), and he was the other elder who my current companion, Elder Grow, trained about 2 transfers before me. I was super nervous about the division since he doesn´t speak English and I didn´t think we´d be able to acomplish much in 24 hours with two juniors, one who´s still learning Portuguese, but it went reallly well! We went to his area, called Arsenal, and taught a couple of their investigators and a less-active member. Overall, it was a great opportunity to practice my Portuguese and I loved hearing Elder Leites experiences with Elder grow as his trainer.
I have some good news and bad news regarding some of our teaching. I´l start with the bad. I think I´ve said a bit about one of our investigators, Isolda, in my past letters. We returned to her house to ask her if she received an answer to her prayers about whether or not she shoud be baptized. She said the same stuff as before. She believes that the doctrine we teach is true, but she isn´t willing to leave her other church because she loves the people there and doesn´t want to leave them. So she says she´s not ready, but will try to keep attending our meetings whenever possible.
Good news... I have my first baptism!!!! It´ll end up being nearly exactly one month after having entered Alcântara, which I think is pretty cool. There was a guy who has been attending our ward for over 2 months now beecause his brother is a member. but we had just heard he was an investigator last week. His name is Dinho, he´s 50 years old, and we asked if we could meet with him and rach him a short lesson after church yesterday. He has learned a lot from the Gospel Principles class this ward teaches, and after teaching him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he accepted our invitation for him to be baptized on the 22nd! I´m so excited and having this happen has only made me more anxious to find people to teach and to invite to follow the teachings that Jesus Christ has placed in our life.
In other news, we are still waiting on two couples to get married before we can baptize them. I never would have expected that to be the biggest problem here! We´ve been teaching another family for the past two weeks. The parents are named Lú and Valdir, and they have three boys who are 16, 12, and 9. They were able to attend church yesterday and they really enjoyed it! The parents have never been legally married, but we´re hoping the boys will be able to reaceive a testimony through attending church, reading the scriptures, and receiving an answer through prayer to be baptized, maybe as soon as the 29th. There has been lots of success fopr Elder Grow and I, and I can feel my ability to teach and understand the language improve every day!
This week will be pretty busy, but it should be fun, too. I have a training with all of the other elders and Sisters that entered Rio the same week as me, which should take up a big portion of the day. most of our time will be spend on the bus though -__- Haha. Thenwe have Zone Conference which should also take up a big portion of our day. Lots of meetings, but It will be nice to finally meet other missionaries serving here!
That just about sums up my week, I think. It has been super hot all week, and I´m sweating like crazy just writing this letter. I always feel gross, but I´m getting used to it. I´m also like super tan now. I´ll try to get some pictures to send home next week. I still love Açai, too. The church is true, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ has the capacity to bring so much joy and Slavation to the souls of everyone. Not only a few people, but EVERYONE has the opportunity to reap the rewards. Always remember that. I love you all and I am so grateful for the prayers have have been coming my way!
Muito muito amor,
Elder Steven Braun